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SLO city attorney leaves for pleasant pastures 

Jonathan Lowell, San Luis Obispo city attorney for the last six years, is resigning at the end of the year. His departure, along with that of City Manager Ken Hampian and Finance Director Bill Statler, makes a trifecta of top city officials quitting in 2009.


Lowell is moving to be the city attorney in Pleasanton, a prosperous Bay Area city with a population larger than San Luis Obispo’s.


The departing city attorney said it was a tough decision, but the chance to live closer to his elderly parents was the deciding factor.


“I love this job, and I love this city,” Lowell said in a phone interview. “It will be tough to leave, but it was a new opportunity and it was near my parents.”


Mayor Dave Romero discounted the notion that the departure of the three officials is an ominous sign of things to come for the city. He said he thinks their leaving probably has something to do with timing; he said the city government is in relatively stable shape and that makes it a good time to go.


“All three of these men are outstanding performers at their jobs,” Romero said. “They chose to leave in a stable time period, during the middle of a city council term when the budget is balanced.”


Both Hampian and Statler said they would remain in the area and possibly pursue consulting work.


Romero said 101 people applied for the city manager job, a number whittled down to seven for two days of interviews by the city council.

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